One of the most impressive advantages that electric motorcycles have over their gas-powered brethren is their inherent ability for extreme acceleration. With high torque that is instantly available with a twist of the wrist, electric motors are capable of providing performance that is nearly impossible to match with a gas engine of equivalent power.
And perhaps no electric motorcycle exemplifies this extreme performance better than Lightning’s record-setting LS-218 electric motorcycle.
Lightning Motorcycle’s LS-218 electric superbike
The name LS-218 comes from its world record speed for fastest electric motorcycle at 218 mph (351 km/h).
That speed is possible in large part due to the 150 kW (200 hp) liquid-cooled IPM motor.
With 168 ft-lbs (228 Nm) of torque, the LS-218 is the most powerful production electric motorcycle in the world.
Even powerful concept electric motorcycles unveiled in the past year haven’t touched those numbers.
But what does that kind of torque translate to in the real world? The LS2-18 can go 0-60 mph in 2.2 seconds and 0-100 mph in 5.5 seconds.
Check out the video below of Lightning testing out an LS-218 on the dyno ahead of delivering it to a customer. You can see the bike accelerate from 100 mph to 150 mph in just 2 seconds.
— Lightning Motorcycle (@LightningMotorc) February 2, 2019
If the initial sprint up to 100 mph seems rather slow (relatively speaking) at 7 seconds, don’t worry. They’re just babying it on the dyno. As Lightning’s Matt Schulwitz explained to Electrek:
“We actually can’t even apply full throttle until after 100 mph because there is so much torque available that it will just spin and smoke the tire on the dyno. Nevertheless, you can see the LS-218 pulls from 100 mph to 150 mph in about 2 seconds.”
It’s that kind of power and torque that has helped the LS-218 scoop up a number of awards and shatter multiple records.
As Schulwitz describes:
“The motor is fully liquid cooled and designed to never overheat even in the most intensive performance riding and racing scenarios. We’ve thoroughly validated our motor technology by winning the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Overall – beating the 2nd place finisher (Ducati) by over 20 seconds – as well as numerous other racing wins.”
Not only is the LS-218 fast and powerful, but it’s also fully street legal and already being delivered to customers. It’s not cheap, ranging from $38,888 for the 12 kWh model up to $46,888 for the 20 kWh model, which is rated at 180 miles (290 km) of mixed city/highway range. But with such a large battery pack and such high performance parts including Ohlins suspension, Brembo brakes, carbon fiber body, etc., plus the ability to break 200 mph in the highest gearing configuration, the LS-218 stands in a class all its own.
Of course not everyone is ready to hop on an electric superbike, and so Lightning is preparing to launch their second production electric motorcycle, the Strike. With a top speed and range of 150 mph and 150 miles (241 km/h and 241 km), the Strike takes the engineering experience gained from the LS-218 and puts it in a more manageable form for everyday riders. And with an MSRP of just $12,998, the Strike should open the door to a much wider range of riders.
Lightning confirmed to Electrek that most LS-218 customers are experienced riders looking for the most extreme performance, while early Strike reservation holders have come from a wide range of new and experienced riders:
“Strike has attracted interest from riders of all skill levels ranging from brand new and even soon-to-be riders, to highly experienced lifelong motorcyclists. In addition, while there are many Strike reservation holders who have previously owned an electric motorcycle, the vast majority are reserving Strike to be their first electric motorcycle, something that we find incredibly exciting.”
So if you’ve never owned an electric motorcycle before but have entertained the idea, the Strike might be for you. And if you think you can handle hitting 150 mph (241 km/h) in under 8 seconds, you’d be hard pressed to find a better option than the insane LS-218.
What do you think about Lightning’s offerings? Let us know in the comments section below.